It is spring! After what seems like a very long winter, I am sure that everyone in Alberta would agree that it feels great to see the sun shining and the snow gone! I love the seasons, but there is something special about spring. Everything that looks dead comes alive with the warm weather. It is a season of hope, spring-cleaning (get rid of the old), and new beginnings. For me, it’s a time to go beyond the barrenness of winter and consider where I want to be a year from now. I think about my goals, my purpose, and my heart’s longings. Am I being true to myself, or am I more concerned with stuff than life? (I must say that it isn’t easy ignoring the demands of stuff in our culture.) Nonetheless, my passions always seem to bring me back to my heart’s desires.
What are you passionate about? Where do you want to be in a year, five years, or ten years from now? Do you have any heart dreams that are still waiting to be accessed? Our goals and dreams are as unique as our personalities, but have you ever wondered why some people are so driven by their dreams? Gertrude Ederle, Amelia Earhart, and Walt Disney were relentlessly driven by the dreams that were written on their heart. Their tenacity and relentless passion is called ‘grit’, and their stories are an inspiration. Would you agree?
Stories about great achievements inspire us, but pursuing our heart dreams can be difficult. When we read great stories, we see success from an end point back to the beginning, but in our lives, we can only see from the beginning. We can’t see the results of our hard work beforehand. It is easy to map out something that has already happened, but it isn’t easy mapping out something that goes into the unknown.
Considering all of the unknowns beforehand can be so intimidating and overwhelming that it can be easier to forfeit the idea altogether. But the good news is that we can all take a step towards our heart dreams today. Instead of looking at the ‘big’ picture (and envisioning all of the risks, commitments, and hard work needed to get there), we can take one small step and start walking – one step at a time. One small step is more significant than a lifetime of never trying. Every great story began with one step, and every overnight success is the result of endless small steps that refused to give up.
What are your heart dreams? If you are not sure, think about the things that you do simply because you love doing them. What activities make you happy? My photography is a heart dream. The reason for starting a studio years ago was because of my love for creative expressions through art. I can quickly lose myself in the process of creating the ‘perfect’ portrait. Photography is an integral part of who I am more than what I do. But our heart dreams are not limited to creativity. They can be administrative work, mothering, gardening, engineering, teaching, or working with animals! Some people have jobs they love; these are heart dreams. Our heart dreams are the activities that we get lost in – the ones that consume us.
Recent studies show that happiness is contingent on our ability to live our true self – to pursue and experience our heart dreams. In fact, happiness is minimally connected with materialism and significantly associated with authenticity. That means that if we want to be happy, we need to get in sync with our heart dreams. Our heart dreams generate meaning and purpose, and when we pursue these activities, we experience happiness from the inside out. Our happiness is intrinsic; it doesn’t depend on feedback from others or monetary gain. That’s a great thing! But it doesn’t stop there. Happiness from the inside is stable (it doesn’t bounce all over the place like a rubber ball that isn’t perfectly round). It is also deep-seated. It goes below the mundane chores that we all do each day. That means that however challenging your chores are, they cannot snuff out the happiness that comes from living your true self. Great stuff!
So, where am I going with all of this?
Happiness is a universal desire, but so are meaning and purpose. If our dreams are the connecting point between happiness and meaning and purpose, we need to pay attention. Do you have a dream that is waiting to be pursued? C. S. Lewis said that we are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. There is no time like today. Pursuing your dream can feel daunting at first, but the intrinsic rewards far outweigh the risks. People, who live authentically tend to be happier, live longer, have fewer regrets, and are more satisfied with life in general. They feel alive! If you feel intimidated by the risks of stepping out, remember Nelson Mandela’s words: “it will always seem impossible until it’s done.” Start with one step. Spring is about new beginnings. Where do you want to be next spring? If you have something that has been on your heart for a long time, I challenge you to pull it out. Consider it. Pray about it, and take a step towards it this year. There will never be a perfect time to start, so why not today? Life has no guarantees for our tomorrows. What is your dream? What gives you purpose? If you are not sure, think about it. To live is to dream. Dreaming makes us alive. It gives us purpose and reason beyond the mundane. People were created to live their dreams. It’s time to live yours!
 Fry, M. (2016). 5 Awesome historical women who had grit way before it was trendy. Retrieved from https://verilymag.com/2016/07/grit-the-power-of-passion-and-perseverance-angela-duckworth-amelia-earhart-gertrude-ederle-flannery-oconnor-harriet-tubman
 Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1999). If we are so rich, why aren’t we happy? American Psychologist, 54(10), 821-827.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1999). If we are so rich, why aren’t we happy? American Psychologist, 54(10), 821-827.
Feeney, D. J. (1996). Purposeful self: Accessing sensory motifs as empowerment in flow states and clinical interventions. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 36(4), 94-115.
Frankl, V. (1963). Man’s search for meaning. New York: Washington Square. Fry, M. (2016).
5 Awesome historical women who had grit way before it was trendy. Retrieved from https://verilymag.com/2016/07/grit-the-power-of-passion-and-perseverance-angela-duckworth-amelia-earhart-gertrude-ederle-flannery-oconnor-harriet-tubman